The wife of Nigeria’s president, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has called on Nigerians to support processes that help women gain power and economic success.

Buhari said through this, the interests and values of the female gender would be better represented in the country.

Reports have it that she spoke at the First Edition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Women Leadership Lecture Series on Tuesday in Lagos.

The lecture which had the theme: “Breaking the Bias – Accelerating Business and Economic Growth Through Inclusion,” was organised to commemorate the 2022 International Women’s Day.

Buhari was represented by Hajia Aisha Aminu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Legal Matters, Office of the First Lady.

She said unless women had access to empowerment opportunities that allowed them to gain education and join the workforce, many countries would not develop as well as they should.

According to her, World Bank studies show that many women around the world are still prevented by law from working in certain jobs; and in many countries, men can legally forbid their wives from working.

Buhari said sadly, even in instances where women work, the gender pay gap meant they didn’t earn as much as men.

She said: “In Nigeria, the case is not different; gender inequality is influenced by different cultures and beliefs.

“In most parts of Nigeria, women are considered subordinates to their male counterparts and it is generally believed that women are best suited as home keepers.

“This is evident even in our law-making and policy formulation processes.”

She urged the stakeholders to continue the struggle by promoting the rights of women and girls to enable them to develop fundamental skills and gain invaluable knowledge.

Buhari added that this allowed them to thrive in their careers and simply make decisions that would improve their lives.

“On the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2022, I call on all stakeholders in the gender agenda to support processes that help women gain power and economic success.

“Through this, the interests and values of the female gender will be better represented.

“We need to also end violence and sexual assault against women by strengthening laws against domestic violence and sexual assaults to protect women and girls who are often vulnerable.

“Raising the aspirations of girls and their parents is another key strategy to change how girls, families and society imagine what girls can be and can do.

“We need to give girls images and role models that expand their dreams,” she said.

Earlier in his address of welcome, Chairman, SPE Nigeria Council, Prof. Olalekan Olafuyi, said as a gender-sensitive organisation, SPE had been creating opportunities for diversity and inclusion.

Olafuyi said in 2013, the leadership of SPE Nigeria Council, led by Mr Osayande Igiehon, initiated the Women Leadership Programme (WLP), formerly Women Development Programme (WDP).

He said: “The WLP has attracted high-profile ladies from a broad spectrum of industries. The learnings, awareness, and networking impact of the WLP are very evident.

“In 2017, SPE Nigeria Council went further to create a special committee saddled with the responsibility of promoting our women in the industry and also in mentoring very young and middle-aged females in Nigeria.

“This special committee is called Our Women Our Pride OWOP.

“The past five years have witnessed a great impact of OWOP as we have seen in girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics awards and many others.”

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